Gardasee-Regatta Finale

The top 3

Valérian Lebrun secures OK Dinghy International Regatta on Garda

Valérian Lebrun, from France, secured the OK Dinghy International Regatta hosted by Circolo Vela Arco on Lake Garda, on Thursday, after two more races were sailed in an early morning northerly. Germany’s Soenke Behrens won the opening race of the day to secure second overall, while Denmark’s Bo Petersen took third.

Though the event was overshadowed by some unusual and inclement weather, the racing was concluded in a stiff northerly with a first start at 0830.

Prizewinners with Race Committee

Greg Wilcox stood in for second placed Soenke Behrens, who had partied so hard all week, he had fallen asleep…Ludwig Biethahn, GER, won the top Junior (far right, also a stand in)

Jessica Finke, GER won the Ladies prize

Uli Borchers, GER (not shown) won the Veteran prize

In Race 7 Behrens tacked away from the boat end and went right. The rest of the fleet went up the middle. But the top 3 at the top mark were from right, left and middle. Petersen capsized tacking for the top mark, while Behrens got away down the reaches and had a big lead. Jan Dietmar Dellas, from Germany, dropped from second to fourth while Lebrun got through to second and Pavel Pawlaczyk was third, with New Zealand’s Greg Wilcox fourth to keep his podium chances alive.

The final race was close at the first mark with Lebrun and Petersen leading, and Behrens and Wilcox leading the chase. It stayed that way the rest of the race with Lebrun getting away a bit. Petersen took an easy second to secure the bronze, while Behrens beat Wilcox by half a boatlength.

OK Dinghies on Garda

Lebrun said, “Once again we had to go out pretty early. And we had rain and cold conditions so it was hard to keep motivated. The wind was stronger than the other days in both races and race committee hesitated before starting the final race.

“But overall, we had eight good races, which is very good for the class and I think for everyone who came here. It was very good to see everyone again and talk together. I think a lot of people were glad to meet each other again, so I was happy I be here even if it was a long way from France. 

“It was a very good opportunity to race against some very good sailors, and try a new rig and enjoy the sailing conditions. Not sure when the next reatta will be but I am happy we did this one.”

Fourth placed Wilcox commented, “It was a nice day’s sailing. Two reasonably quick races, good breeze, plenty of windshifts, quite hard work, but good fun actually.

“I had a really nice last race with Soenke. We sailed the whole race about a boatlength apart and finished a bit less than a boatlength apart, so that was nice. Good fun and interesting to see some people capsizing. 

“We owe a lot of thanks to the Circolo Vela Arco for putting on a great event for us. Altogether it was a pretty good regatta and everyone is very happy they came. I think the race committee did a great job, the club is really nice and we should definitely come back here.”

It has been a long held desire of the OK Dinghy class to have events on Lake Garda so many hope this will be the first of many. The OK Dinghy class was active in Italy some 30-40 years ago, so in all likelihood the last OK Dinghy regatta on Garda was at least a generation ago, if not two. There are now a small number of OKs in Italy and it is hoped bringing the fleet to Garda will help grow more interest.

Certainly, the sailors who travelled to Garda were determined to go and have fun, and seemed to have made quiet an impression. Seeing OK Dinghies sailing on Lake Garda for the first time in a long time was quite something.

When CVA agreed to host the 2021 World Championship there was a huge enthusiasm to attend, from all over the world and it would almost certainly have been the largest world championship ever. Unfortunately, in the interests of fairness, that couldn’t happen this year and that was a great disappointment to many. However it will happen in the not too distant future. The OKs will be back.

Final results after 8 races
1  FRA 11  Valerian Lebrun  10
2  GER 77  Soenke Behrens  17
3  DEN 21  Bo Petersen  25
4  NZL 599  Greg Wilcox  28
5  DEN 1565  Mogens Johansen  56
6  GER 852  Michael Nissen  59
7  GER 7  Andreas Pich  61
8  GER 5  Ralf Tietje  64
9  DEN 1577  Jørgen Holm  73
10  GER 75  Dirk Dame  75

Full results here:

Photos: Emilio Santinelli/Circolo Vela Arco

Many more photos on the club’s Facebook page:

The OKs will be back

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